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What Does The Future Hold For Heavy Equipment Careers?

The US economy is still going through turbulent times with unemployment high across many sectors. This is a situation that creates numerous problems, one of which is the nervousness of those looking to change careers. A lot of money is being poured into construction by the government so one would expect that careers such as heavy equipment careers could be worth chasing. But are they?

There is a lot of talk by many people in the industry, particularly training providers, that there are thousands of jobs on offer. Receive training today and walk into a job tomorrow is their mantra. The reality is the opposite. Despite a lot of money being poured into construction, jobs are still hard to come by. This makes a move into a heavy equipment career very risky – and individuals ought to be a little nervous about making such a move.

The long term outlook is bright, however. We have an aging population and many of those currently employed as heavy equipment operators are nearing the end of their working life – you could say their use-by date is almost up. This will leave a vacuum in the field of experienced heavy equipment operators. I use the word ‘experienced’ because it is a key for those looking at a successful long term career as a heavy equipment operator.

Opportunities are there now for new operators to enter the market to gain experience. However, to be in a position to take up these opportunities, you need to have two key ingredients. The first is versatility. You need to be in a position to operate a range of heavy equipment. Employment could be patchy and you will most likely start with very basic operations. Having a secondary skill such as a commercial drivers license could be ideal. You may start as a transport driver picking up and delivering heavy equipment to construction sites. With heavy equipment training, you will most likely also load and unload this equipment. As you prove your worth, you will gain more opportunities to operate this equipment. What is important is that you are employed in the industry, and you are gaining experience – and this is just one example of having versatile skills.

The second component is probably more important and revolves around your training. When an employer looks at a job application, especially from someone who is new to the industry, they will be looking to see where that applicant undertook their training. It is imperative in today’s market that training is undertaken by training companies that are well respected by employers. Find a well respected heavy equipment training organization and that’s half your battle won.

Starting a heavy equipment career is not going to be a piece of cake. However, do it right and you will make life a lot easier on yourself. Industry expects a skill drain in around five years and they say it takes five years to become recognized as experienced in this industry. Start now and you will be right at the pointy end when your skills will be in high demand and you will be considered experienced. Wait a year or two and it could be too late – you won’t have gained the necessary experience. One suggestion well worth following up on is to talk to heavy equipment career services personnel to find out what options are available to you in your area right now.

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